Half-year profits at Coles, Australia’s second-largest retailer, increased by more than 15%, owner Wesfarmers has reported.

Earnings before interest and tax from Coles for the six months to the end of December were up 15.1% at A$755m.

Australian conglomerate Wesfarmers said Coles had seen a “solid growth in customer transactions” and “above-market sales performance”.

Wesfarmers MD Richard Goyder added: “The earnings growth achieved at Coles and Kmart was pleasing, reflecting the ongoing turnaround of these businesses and a strong customer response to their improving offers.”

Last month, Coles reported a near-5% increase in half-year sales. Comparable sales from its food and liquor stores increased to 3.8%.

Rival Woolworths Ltd booked a 4.8% rise in half-year sales from continuing operations, excluding petrol. Sales from Woolworths’ Australian food and liquor business were up 4.7%. Comparable-store sales increased 2.7%.

Woolworths will reports its own half-year financial results on 28 February.